On June 9, Head of School Clair Ward presided as 51 eighth grade students were graduated during Shore’s 84th Closing Exercises, held outdoors for the first time in recent memory. Also for the first time, ninth graders were graduated during their own celebration, held two days earlier.
The Closing Exercises had not been held in person for two years—2020’s graduation ceremony was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In her remarks, Ward thanked the audience for their support as the school navigated an unprecedented time. “Families, we offer our deepest gratitude for all you have done to encourage these amazing kids through this challenging, yet joyous year. Students, on behalf of your teachers, I want to thank you for the privilege of being your guides and your coaches, especially this year. Thank you for letting us walk beside you throughout your Shore journey. Know that this will always be your home, and that you will always be a class that finished the year in complete and utter fulfillment of our mission.”
Before the Closing Exercises began under a sprawling tent assembled on the athletic fields, graduates gathered in the Dining Hall, where they received white roses they’d carry or wear during the ceremony. Parents looked on, cameras and phones in hand to capture the scene, as the graduates posed for class photos on the steps of the historic Winslow Building and then processed as a group for the start of the Closing Exercises.
At the podium, Head of School Clair Ward welcomed the graduates and guests by referring to Shore’s Community Code. “Graduates, we are committed to you taking Shore’s Community Code with you as your most significant lesson. If you are kind, true, respectful, open, and dependable, you will in fact be not only your best, but the best of Shore. As we move through our ceremony of celebration today, be thinking about how your ability to take your Shore best to the next level makes today not an ending, but a beginning.”
Following Ward’s inspiring introduction, the President of the Board of Trustees, Rayna Lesser Hannaway, shared a message featuring four pieces of advice for the graduates. “First, learn to be a good listener. So often we find ourselves thinking of our responses while another person is talking, or we interrupt, or we’re busy checking our e-mail or our cellphone. The best kind of listening is about just listening and being comfortable with not knowing what you’re going to say next or what question you might ask. Second, if you want to do something great, don’t be afraid of failure. Take risks and embrace failure. It is often the fuel for our success. Third, we all need to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, know what is in your control and what is not, and focus your energy on what you can control. Focus on the process, not the outcome. A good process is what creates extraordinary results.”
The Head of School then called each eighth grade graduate individually to the podium, where she congratulated them before the students received a graduation certificate from Head of Upper School Gustavo Carrera. Later, graduates were invited to present roses to their parents, and one family whose children had spent a combined 36 years at Shore was acknowledged with a bouquet.
As the ceremony wound to a close, Clair Ward returned to the podium to offer her final words, in which she drew parallels between the Shore education and lessons learned from TikTok, the video-sharing platform popular with many of the eighth graders who were listening. “The first lesson is fail quickly and fail often. The most successful TikTok-ers produce an abundance of content—a mode of constant creation. The idea is that the more you produce, the better you become and the higher your chances are of success. At Shore, we know that pushing through failure is the key to innovation and creativity.
“The second lesson is to embrace your niche. The 800 million TikTok users are not just one community; they are bunches and bunches of individual communities, each with their own interests. This is true within our Shore community, too. If we have done our job, then you are leaving Shore with some sense of who you are and some passion for continuing to grow. If we are doing our job, we have positioned you to discover new things about yourselves in high school—a place where you just might develop a new niche.
“The third and final lesson is to stand on the shoulders of giants. One of TikTok’s most-used features allows users to create their own take on existing material. Originality is valuable, but knowledge and education exist because of our commitment to sharing our ideas. Today, Shore graduates, you stand on the shoulders of giants: your teachers, your families, and your heroes. If you learn the humility it takes to learn from others, then you stand a better chance of being the giant who’s shoulder someone else stands on in the future—you become their inspiration.”
Graduates and their families listened to a recording of the traditional benediction, performed by Shore students and employees, and then the eighth graders recessed to the Macklemore song “Good Old Days,” whose lyrics explain, “I wish somebody would have told me, babe, some day, these will be the good old days. … Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change. You’ll miss the magic of these good old days.”
In the Howard Gymnasium, faculty formed a receiving line to cheer the newly graduated students as they high-fived one of the hands painted around the doors of the gym, “taking one last touch of Shore,” as Clair Ward explained, “and leaving one last touch of yourself at Shore.”
Outside on the Greentop families then gathered to greet their graduates and share well wishes for the summer and fall. Fifteen eighth graders will return to Shore in the fall to be part of the school’s unique ninth grade program, while other graduating students will move on to top high schools and college preparatory schools including Brooks School, The Governor’s Academy, Milton Academy, Pingree School, Phillips Academy, and Phillips Exeter Academy, among others.
The eighth grade graduates of the Class of 2022 are: Mary Adams, Emerson Albrecht, Jackson Allen, Isaiah Aminzadeh, Jordi Ayala, Charlotte Bigelow, John Blundin, Arianna Bocchino, Shane Cardarelli, John Cataldo, Angus Clark, Luka Clark, Eva Contis, Amanda Cooper, Mai Do, Grayson Driscoll, Jude Eskandar, Logan Fairbrother, Caleigh Fates, Henry Foster, Hugh Foster III, Laird Gerdes, William Goedkoop, Andrew Gould, Emily Haley, Rae Hanlon, Sophie Harris, Madison Hugo, William Iler, Harold Johnson, Kipley Kagan, Nicholas Laubinger, Camille Maccarone, Lila Mallon, Skylar McNall, Robert Mullaney Jr., Liam Mulligan, Anton Nugteren, Ethan Oder, Khyati Patel, Louisa Politi, Laya Raju, Chloe Remondi, Aidan Ryan, Nicholas Schibli, Edward Schlueter, Hadley Spater, Henry Sumner, Halia Taylor, Fiona van Otterloo, and Lucinda Winthrop.